On the brink of the start of football season. It is the perfect opportunity to sit down with a few coaches and discover what they value in their players on the field. We have all heard there is no “I” in team, but there seem to be several character attributes in which coaches look for when choosing their teams.
Coach Bill Malone from Morgan County High School is entering is 15thseason as the head football coach according to the Georgia High School Football Historian Association.
We also spoke with Coach Ryan Parson from Veterans High School. Coach Parson has coached baseball and basketball. He also contributed to the 2010 Georgia College and State University’s road to the DII College World Series. He brings a unique perspective from both the player and coach stand point.
The top quality on Coach Malone’s list is having a very strong work ethic. Similarly, Coach Parson explains the number one quality he looks for in an athlete is coachability or willingness to learn. Both of these attributes can contribute to a successful team. Without a strong work ethic or an avid appetite to learn drills or plays athletes may not have a strong, cohesive team or a winning season.
Second on the list for Coach Malone is to have an appreciation for group effort and individual responsibility. Parson agreed with Malone in saying being able to accept one’s individual role on the team is important.
At number three Malone ranks the ability to handle constructive criticism as a top characteristic he values in a player. Four, the value of being early and staying later. It’s no surprise that a coach appreciates when athletes dedicate time and energy to their craft. Last on Coach Malone’s list is the ability to refocus quickly. He says athletes that are able to have a short memory have a better, more applicable mindset when it comes to the game. Further explaining not to brood over past mistakes, but reevaluate, adjust and play the next play.
Coach Parson ranks Leadership at number three on his list. Coming in at number four is integrity and rounding out his list at number five is grit. To elaborate, he explains an athlete has the better advantage if they handle criticism and adversity with stride.
Both coaches had similar responses to our questions. Maybe all coaches value similar attributes in their players. Or, perhaps it is because Coach Malone carries over his coaching into the classroom and was Coach Ryan Parson’s teacher in high school. A tale of two coaches, but also of a teacher that passed along coaching knowledge from the field to his student who years later became a coach himself.